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Volume 5 Issue 04| April 2011



Original Forum

Readers' Forum

Democracy and Dogma --Jalal Alamgir
War in Libya: How will it end? --Ali Riaz
Dinosaurs in our Midst
--Mir Mahfuzur Rahman
On the Right Side of History
--Ikhtiar Kazi
Throes of Volatility
--Quazi Zulquarnain Islam
Judges and Constitutions
Photo Feature: Survival of the Fittest
Transcending the Current Conflicts in the Microfinance Sector in Bangladesh--Syed M Hashemi

Basant Festival and Nabo Barsho: Our Bridge across Culture and Religion--Ziauddin Choudhury

House of Cards --Shahana Siddiqui
Battling it out Between 'Two Feminisms' --Kaberi Gayen
'Women as Nation' and 'Nation as Women': Literary solutions to the Birangona problem
--Rubaiyat Hossain


Forum Home


Editor's Note

Not since glasnost, perestroika, dissolution of Soviet Union, contagion-induced replacement of socialist regimes in Eastern Europe and fall of Berlin Wall has the world witnessed such prospects of sweeping changes in the political landscape of a whole region. The Middle East, Arab lands and Northern Africa are animated with popular upheavals seeking change.

Afghanistan and Iraq epitomised the burial ground of principled multilateralism and the stupendous human and material costs extracted from the aggressed and the aggressor alike. The outcome has been at best an aborted one as simulated governance prevailed over sovereignty and self-determinist aspirations of the peoples. Whether the West has learnt any lesson from the two attritional and inconclusive engagements will now be tested on the shifting paradigm of the Green Crescent.

Seminally though, religion has had little to do with revolutions raging through Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria, Morocco, Algeria and Arab peninsula with varying intensities. It is the regimes blindfolded for long to the civil liberties and democratic rights of their people with their 'expiry dates' bleeping that have set on roll the oppressive state machinery to put down demonstrations. The popular psyche has overtaken the carrot-and-stick stratagem of the rulers promising reforms not for the first time anyway. The demographic pattern of an overwhelming number of 15-25 year old generation is an emphatic statement of reality which will have to be met in kind.

The problem is, there is no template, no silver bullet of a solution available to cope with the unprecedented challenges. The Arab League, African Union and, more important, the EU, USA and United Nations potentially the key players have no clues. In spite of the London conference held to chart a course, the issues admit of perhaps only long haul solutions.

To be on the right side of history is one thing but to steer the complex scenario to peaceable culmination is another. There is no contesting the view however, that the solutions will have to come from within through indigenous negotiation processes set afoot by the Arab League and African Union on UN watch.

Beneath the dichotomy of 'two feminisms', a commonality is highlighted with a warning to avoid the trapdoor of generalisations in 'feminist theory'. 'Moral dilemma of Bangladesh masculinity' failing to 'provide strategic protection for its women at a moment of crisis' is alluded to in dealing with representation of Birangona in a larger frame of women's role in nationalism.

The virtues of judicial review of amendments to constitution, indeed in the making of these have been analysed through the lens of history.

The vulnerability of marriages under social pressure and the frenzied reaction of Bangladesh cricket lovers to their national team's victory and defeat in a love-hate pattern is also depicted.

As we try to cross the threshold of the micro-finance conflict, we prepare to celebrate the springtime festival of Nabobarsho -- a bridge across culture and religion.

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